10-Week Pause: Session 8 – De-centering

We practice de-centering by stepping out of mental events (thoughts), by breaking down our experiences (thoughts, emotions, body sensations), and seeing things directly or as they are, impersonal and impermanent, coming and going. By seeing thoughts as just thoughts, emotions as just that, we loosen their grip over us, we create space, and reduce the tendency to get caught up with automatic thinking patterns and unhelpful habitual actions which add to suffering.


In Session 8, we are practicing de-centering by observing experiences as they are, without further judgement or needing to cancel out those moments.


Coming to sit, back as upright as possible, chest open, shoulders softening.

Letting the eyes close if you wish, or keeping them open.

Feeling the body, sensing the gravity that keeps the body grounded on the seat.

Feeling the contact points, bum on the seat, feet against the floor or mat, hands on the lap.

Saying, “This is the body sitting on the floor.”

“This is the bum contacting the floor.”

“This is the present moment.”


Acknowledging the breath coming into the nostrils, pausing, exhaling.

Feeling the chest, the belly at each inbreath, and release of the out-breath.

And saying to yourself, “This is the breath”.

“This is breathing.”


While keeping the breath in awareness, tuning the attention to sounds around you. 

Noticing how they come and go, changing, pausing.

“This is sound. Just sound.”

“Coming, going, independent of us, not personal.”


Turning toward ourselves, when thoughts are arising, noting them, noting where the mind is going. 

Ever changing. 

Then saying, “This is a thought.”

“Thinking is happening.”

“Coming, going.”

“It is alright. Nothing more.”


At any moment of the practice, you may feel fidgety, restless or sleepy, or peaceful.

Saying, “Restlessness is here.”

“Sleepiness is here.”

“Peace is here.”

“Arising and disappearing, changing.”

“Nothing more and it is okay.”


Perhaps there may be some sensations present. 

Pulsating, tingling, lightness, or maybe heaviness.

Saying, “Heaviness is here.”

Or “Lightness and calm are here.”

“That is ok, sensations are just sensations, nothing more.”


Now expanding the attention to sensing the body as a whole. 

Saying, “This is the body sitting here.”

“This is the present moment.”

“Nothing more.”


I read this poem by Haiku master, Kobayashi Issa.

cherry blossoms scatter–
snap! the buck’s antlers
come off

without regret
they fall and scatter…
cherry blossoms


In closing this practice, when you are ready, letting the eyes open if they were closed, and taking in the space, gently. 

And bringing this sense of de-centering to the next moment of the day or evening.

Thank you and take care.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Motoki Tonn, Unsplash

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